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New York City may reduce density of fast food restaurants through healthier zoning laws

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: public health, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) New York City health committee chairman Joel Rivera is taking a stand against the raging levels of obesity in his city by lobbying to slow the uncontrolled growth of fast-food chains.

"(Fast-food restaurants) make good-tasting, affordable food, but unfortunately, it lacks nutrition," said the slim and fit Rivera.

The Democratic leader of the Bronx is worried about the increasing levels of obesity in New York and the subsequent health risks. His plan for controlling the problem is to persuade the U.S. Health Department and fellow politicians to use zoning laws to limit the number of fast-food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods, where obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes are most rampant.

"What I want to do is limit the number of fast-food establishments within specific proximity of each other, and try to give incentives for healthy alternatives and give people choice."

Rivera is aware that he has challenged a powerful adversary in threatening the fast-food giants, but he notes that this strategy has already worked in other cities across the United States.

Big names in fast food are not the only people standing against Rivera, however. Some locally-owned fast-food businesses stand to be shut down, should the zoning laws be changed. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Scientific Health, also feels Rivera's plan is weak.

"I think it's an absurd solution, not just from the point of individual choice. It just wouldn't work. If you love fast food and you're fat, you'd just go to another neighborhood; and you probably wouldn't jog there, you'd probably take a cab," she said.

Many members of the public, however, admit that they only eat at fast-food restaurants for the convenience factor, and would gladly eat healthier fare.

One New Yorker said, "Burger King, Popeyes, KFC is right there. It's what we have. We could get better, but we don't get better."

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